Tuna + Avocado Donburi

I made this by accident. For Sa’s lunch I packed musubi and had leftover tuna that was sautéed in shoyu, sake, and sugar. On the counter was a very ripe avocado and suddenly I had the fixings for what I now call tuna avocado donburi. If you’re having a hard time imagining what this tastes like, think of a deconstructed California roll, sans the crab and sumeshi (vinegared rice).


I usually buy the Trader Joe’s brand albacore tuna in water because it’s relatively inexpensive and the meat is nice and dense. Recently, we bought Chicken of the Sea, and though it’s cheaper, the meat was mush. For this recipe, you want to end up with a very dry and flaky tuna, and it took this brand a lot longer to cook the moisture off.

I finished it off with shichimi, but next time pickled ginger would give it a more appropriate punch… oh, and some tobiko would be divine.

Tuna Avocado Donburi
Makes 2 servings

½ tsp oil
1 can tuna, drained
1 tsp shoyu
1¼ tsp sugar
1 tsp sake
½ sheet nori, cut into thin strips with kitchen shears
1 avocado, mashed
steamed rice

Heat the oil over medium high heat. Fry the tuna in the pan for a couple of minutes until the moisture has evaporated. Add the shoyu, sugar, and sake and continue to cook until the liquid has cooked off and you’re left with dry, flaky tuna.

Assemble the donburi with hot rice on the bottom, then add nori, tuna, and avocado. Sprinkle with shichimi and serve.

Download recipe (PDF)

This entry was posted in Contemporary Recipes, Favorites, Fish, Rice Dishes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. akibo
    Posted May 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I just made it. It’s delish! Thanks for inventing it and sharing!

  2. Posted May 12, 2009 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the comment—I’m glad you liked it!

  3. Posted June 26, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    That looks delicious, i love any dish that makes avocado the star of the show!

  4. Janet
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I have half an avocado in the fridge and didn’t know what to do with it till now – thanks for the inspiration A!!

  5. Posted June 27, 2009 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    This looks amazing! And you take beautiful food photos!

  6. Posted June 27, 2009 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I was looking at your picture and description at TasteSpotting and the first thing that came to mind was: deconstructed sushi! Then, of course, come to find out that’s how you describe it yourself.

    Still hankering for your somen (tsuru! tsuru!). Hopefully I will get to it tomorrow.


  7. Posted June 27, 2009 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the comments—I hope you all get a chance to make this. A great way to stretch that dollar and have a tasty meal!

    J, thanks for all the encouragement in the planning stages of HB!

    Casey, thanks for your comments! Been trying to email you, but keeps bouncing back. Do you have another address I can reach you at?

  8. Posted June 27, 2009 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Leaving this comment so you have an alternate email address. I replied to your comment at tastestopping, but not sure that got through, if my email there is wonky.

    Can’t wait to see your pics!


  9. Posted June 27, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    What a nice and simple and tasty looking donburi!

  10. Posted June 27, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Oh, this looks delicious, and tuna and avocado are some of my favorite things. We eat a lot of donburi around here so I think this is going on next week’s lunch menu for me (my husband doesn’t like tuna).

  11. Becca
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I hacked together some cheap versions of these ingredients (starkist tuna, shredded seaweed of some unknown brand, etc.) and it turned out oh-my-god awesome. If my cheapy version of this turned out so tasty, I can only imagine how good it is when done properly.

  12. Posted July 1, 2009 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Becca, I’m glad you liked it! We’ve also tried adding chopped tomatoes and the tang worked quite well with the other flavors. Hope you experiment with it and try it again!

  13. Adi
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    This was so incredibly delicious. I’m not really a sushi fan, but this looked so good, so I took my chances and even bought the nori – and oh wow, this was so good. Thank you!

  14. Posted July 11, 2009 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Adi! I’m so glad this recipe was a hit with those that tried it. Nothin’ like an easy and cheap meal for times like these…

  15. Posted January 28, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    WOW – just made it and it is sooo tasty! A few adjustments: I had rice vinegar, so I used that in place of saki, and no shichimi or nori around, but it’s still divine. thank you :)

  16. Posted January 28, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Megan, thanks for the tip about using vinegar. I’ll have to try that next time!

  17. Posted January 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    yummy! my husband and 2 year old loved it too (she’s a super picky eater), and it’s super filling, great quick meal!

  18. Rasy
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    I’m waiting for my avocado to ripe…Can’t wait.

  19. derick
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    this look so good, I can’t wait to try it, thanks for sharing

  20. Neha
    Posted October 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Amazing recipe! As a college student, it’s perfect- relatively easy to make, fairly cheap and ABSOLUTELY delicious! Thank you so much :)

  21. Patrice Marie Grace
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I am an American woman who was born with a love for all kinds of Japanese food.The tastes,and textures of Japanese Cuisine are first rate,and so sensual to the palate.Great Blog–Thank you for sharing so much good info!–Patrice Marie

  22. Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    So happy..I found your blog! I am enjoying it so much–Thank you!

  23. Rob
    Posted October 18, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I made this recipe with the costco solid white albacore. I didn’t know what to expect in the beginning but the tuna flavor overpower the rest of the dish, which left a fishy aftertaste after each bite. I made sure the tuna was dried to flakes before serving and even with the kikkoman soy sauce and the sake it couldn’t drown out the fishiness of the tuna. Maybe you can improve on the recipe next time?

  24. Posted October 18, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Thank you for all your comments! I’m glad this recipe has been a hit for most people. It’s super easy, right?!

    Rob, I’m sorry you didn’t like the dish. Tuna has its own inherent flavor, so I wasn’t trying to mask its fishiness. Maybe try a different fish like salmon? Or, you can decrease the amount of fish in your donburi so that the rice and avocado are more pronounced. Just a suggestion!

  25. Patrice Marie
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m still a fan!…I had the most amazing Katsu fish last week — with lime, amazing sauces, and an array vegetables that I would die for again …. — I’m finally convinced the Japanese Cooks/Chefs are the true “PALATE MASTERS” of the world!

  26. Elena
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    I’m having this for dinner with your pickled smashed cucumbers. The two dishes balance each other perfectly and are so delicious! Thank you for the recipes.

  27. Posted May 22, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Elena, glad to hear you’re combining a couple of recipes for a meal! Thanks for your feedback!

  28. Clarisa
    Posted June 20, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Did you use a cooking sake? Is there anything I can substitute the sake with?

  29. Posted June 21, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Clarisa, I buy whatever sake is the cheapest when I use for cooking. Usually it’s the brand Ozeki or Gekkeikan. I’ve never done this but you can probably substitute with the Chinese cooking wine, Shaoxing. Hope it works!

  30. Patrice NYC
    Posted September 30, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m still a fan! …. I luv…………….vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv Japanese dining! The
    recipes on this blog rock!

  31. Posted September 30, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Patrice NYC, thank you so much!

  32. Posted November 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    A go-to recipe for one of my favorite comfort foods! Thank you for posting this.

    As a variation, I used salmon sashimi in place of tuna. Also, I added a mixture of rice vinegar and mirin to the rice. Then shoyu to top it all off. Some sake on the side to drink, also a nice addition :-)

  33. Posted November 19, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Mmmm, sounds delicious, Leiah. I could use some sake, too…!

  34. Jordan
    Posted July 12, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Ah man I feel ya on the chicken of the sea. I bought it trying to be frugal but NEVER AGAIN. It was awful. Question. Is there something I can replace the sake with?

  35. Posted July 13, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Jordan, yes! A dry white wine would work.

One Trackback

  • By Sushi Bowl | Yak-Master on November 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    […] This recipe and image, are from the Humble Bean. This recipe is really a “donburi” or Japanese rice bowl, but we refer to it as a sushi […]

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